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Marine Life & Conservation

No Limits to shark exploitation?

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The Shark Trust is launching its No Limits? campaign today in response to the crisis posed by unlimited and escalating shark fishing pressure. With no catch limits set for many shark species, landings have soared over the past decade, placing huge pressure on shark populations. The Trust’s No Limits? campaign highlights the urgent need to introduce science-based catch limits for Blue Sharks, Shortfin Mako, Tope, smoothhounds and catsharks – species accounting for over 97% of reported Atlantic shark landings.

Europe is a significant global shark fishing power with three EU Member States among the world’s top twenty shark fishing nations. The Shark Trust’s No Limits? campaign addresses the alarming impact of these unrestricted landings, which amount to hundreds of thousands of tonnes, representing over 6.5 million sharks from the Atlantic in 2012 alone. No Limits? appeals to the public to support the adoption of science-based catch limits by signing an online campaign petition urging governments to act before it’s too late, and today’s commercial shark species follow other previously abundant Atlantic shark stocks into collapse.

The EU fleet is responsible for around 40% of reported global shark landings, and 88% of that catch comes from Atlantic waters,” said Ali Hood, Director of Conservation for the Shark Trust. “Reported landings of Blue Shark by the EU fleet have almost tripled since 2003, to approximately 100,000 tonnes in 2012, actual mortality will be far higher. With no catch limits in place, it is imperative that the countries responsible for these landings, and their management, stop uncontrolled shark fishing now.”

Overfishing has so severely reduced Porbeagle, Spiny Dogfish (Spurdog), Angelshark and Common Skate populations that they are now listed by the IUCN as Critically Endangered in the Northeast Atlantic.

Experts agree that sharks and their relatives face a far higher risk of extinction than most other vertebrates. We now believe that a quarter of all sharks, skates and rays are threatened”, said Sarah Fowler, Shark Trust Trustee. “It’s hard to believe that European fishermen almost everywhere can catch as many of these shark species as they want, irrespective of fish size and age. Limiting shark catches contributes to the sustainable future of coastal communities, as well as sharks.

The EU has, in recent years, begun to address a legacy of over-exploitation, with the UK strongly championing the Community Plan of Action for Sharks (2009) and the adoption last year of the revised EU Shark Finning Regulation. The Shark Trust now calls on the UK government to take a stand within the EU for the adoption of science-based catch limits for all unmanaged species.

Ali Hood concluded, “No Limits? is a campaign not only for the UK but for all the citizens of Europe; the Shark Trust believes that, when the public realise the sheer scale of shark mortality, they will want to add their voice – No Limits? No Future!

To sign the petition to stop uncontrolled shark fishing, click here.

Marine Life & Conservation

The Big Shark Pledge: Shark Trust’s new campaign kicks off with a call for support

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With the ink still drying on last week’s landmark listing of nearly 100 species of sharks on Appendix II of CITES, the Shark Trust insists that this is not the time for shark conservation to take a break. The UK-based NGO this week launches its biggest-ever concerted campaign to tackle the overfishing of oceanic sharks. They are calling on people across the world to join the call for stricter controls on high seas fisheries.

The Big Shark Pledge is at the heart of an ambitious set of campaign actions. Working to secure science-based catch limits on all sharks and rays affected by the international high seas fishing fleet. The pledge will build the largest campaigning community in shark and ray conservation history to support a raft of policy actions over the vital years ahead.

Many of our best known and much-loved sharks make their home on the high seas. In our shared ocean, these oceanic sharks and rays face a very real threat from a huge international fleet of industrial-scale fishing vessels. Research published in early 2021 confirmed that over three-quarters of oceanic sharks and rays are now at risk of extinction due to the destructive impact of overfishing. They have declined by 71% over the last 50 years.

The Shark Trust is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year and has a long history of securing positive changes for sharks, skates and rays. The Big Shark Pledge will build on the success of their NoLimits? campaign which underpinned landmark catch limits on Blue Sharks and Shortfin Mako in the North Atlantic.

While the listing of so many species on the CITES trade agreement is certainly a positive step, there remains a huge challenge in ensuring that sustainable practices are embedded in international fisheries.” says Shark Trust Director of conservation, Ali Hood. “Sharks on the high seas face extraordinary pressure from excessive fishing practices. This has to be addressed through international agreements such as those secured for Blues and makos.”

There is hope and a feeling of momentum in the shark conservation community. Just last week, in addition to the new CITES listings, the Shark Trust, working with partners in the Shark League, secured the first-ever international quota for South Atlantic Mako at ICCAT meeting in Portugal. The new campaign from the Shark Trust aims to push forwards from here, engaging a wave of support through the Big Shark Pledge to bolster policy action.

This will be a long-term international and collaborative effort. Forging a pathway to rebuild populations of high-seas sharks and rays. By putting science at the heart of shark conservation and fisheries management. And making the vital changes needed to set populations on the road to recovery.

Shark Trust CEO Paul Cox says of the Big Shark Pledge “It’s designed to give everyone who cares about the future of sharks the chance to add their voice to effective and proven conservation action. By adding their name to the Pledge, supporters will be given opportunities to apply pressure at key moments to influence change.

Click here to sign the Big Shark Pledge

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Gear News

Fourth Element X Sea Shepherd

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This year on Black Friday, fourth element announced their new partnership with Sea Shepherd, encouraging people to move away from mindless purchasing and to opt-in to supporting something powerful.

For 40 years Sea Shepherd, a leading non-profit organisation, has been patrolling the high seas with the sole mission to protect and conserve the world’s oceans and marine wildlife. They work to defend all marine wildlife, from whales and dolphins, to sharks and rays, to fish and krill, without exception.

Inspired by Sea Shepherd’s mission, fourth element have created a collection of fourth element X Sea Shepherd limited edition products for ocean lovers and protectors, with 15% of every sale going to the Sea Shepherd fund to help continue to drive conservation efforts globally.

“Working with Sea Shepherd gives fourth element the opportunity to join forces with one of the largest active conservation organisations in the world to try to catalyse change in people’s attitudes and behaviour. Fourth Element’s products are designed, developed and packaged with the intention of minimising our impact on the ocean environment, and with this partnership, we will be supporting the work of Sea Shepherd, in particular in their work on dealing with the twin threats of Ghost fishing nets and plastic pollution.”

Jim Standing fourth element co-founder

Read fourth element’s Sea Shepherd Opinion Piece HERE

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